50 Stories for 50 Years: It’s all About Security

50 Stories for 50 Years is a yearlong series, written by Hannah Ratzer. Throughout the 2017-2018 school year we will be republishing stories from all 50 years of past publications. We hope to show off Kennedy’s rich history and success through this series. This 50 for 50 story is curated by guest writer Anna Reinhart.

The following story was pulled from Volume 46, Issue 5 of the Kennedy Torch, published on Jan. 25, 2013. It assesses Kennedy’s security policies in response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut that occurred just a month before.

School security increased this year due to a district decision. Additionally, because of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, a lockdown was practiced Jan. 10.

Dr. Mary Wilcynski, principal, said that more lockdowns will be practiced.

Practicing a lockdown was planned in the fall, but was set to happen after the Dec. 14 Connecticut shooting.

“We haven’t had one for quite a while, and we had decided this fall,” Wilcynski said. “I said that I thought we need to practice just so we kind of keep it in our heads, even though it gives you a pit in your stomach when you think about having to do that.”

If the school were to go into a lockdown, teachers would lock their doors and make sure no one was in the hallway. They would then have their students move away from the doors and windows, as well as e-mail the office if a student was missing that should be in the room. This would make sure that every student is accounted for if they happened to go into another classroom.

The school didn’t change the security plan after the shooting in Connecticut.

“I don’t know that we need to change [our security plan] because in our situation we have three security personnel, who are around all the time, plus a uniformed police officer who is around all the time, and we lock all the doors now,” Wilcynski said.

The locked doors was a district decision, and Kennedy was one of the last to implement the keycards. Every elementary and middle school has a keycard system now, and some schools have had the system for two or three years.

“Kids whine and complain about it [locking all the doors], but I think after the Connecticut incident you think ‘Oh, maybe I can walk around the building,'” Wilcynski said.